The City Theatre’s extensive repertoire includes domestic and foreign dramas; comedies; musicals; productions by its own dance group, the Helsinki Dance Company; children’s plays and plays in Swedish on the stage of the bilingual theatre, Lilla Teatern.
The programme includes more than 30 productions per year, about 20 premieres and more than 800 performances. The theatre attracts approximately 300,000 visitors a year.
In addition, each year some 12,000 friends of the theatre participate in various kinds of audience outreach events, such as workshops, theatre tours, introductions to specific plays, theatre projects and rehearsals that are open to the public.
The theatre employs about 240 salaried theatre sector professionals from actors to carpenters and from booking clerks to costume designers, as well as around 100 temporary employees. Our artistic staff accounts for about 42%, technical staff about 43% and administrative about 15% or our employees.
Helsinki City Theatre’s dance group, the Helsinki Dance Company, is the only one of its kind in Finland to operate in connection with a permanent professional theatre.
Founded in 1973, the group has performed on all the City Theatre’s stages and has toured both in Finland and abroad. The dancers have also participated in musicals and dramas produced by the Helsinki City Theatre as dancers, singers, actors and choreographers. They have excelled as diverse stage personalities whose creative energy has contributed to the works of many domestic and foreign top choreographers and directors.
Helsinki City Theatre has two predecessors whose colourful stories are a significant part of Finnish theatre history. In 1948, the Helsinki Workers’ Theatre (founded in 1902) and the Helsinki National Theatre (founded in 1933) merged into the Helsinki National Workers’ Theatre. Its most important venues were the stages of Koitto, Vallila and the old student house Vanha Ylioppilastalo. It became the Helsinki City Theatre in 1965 when the Helsinki Theatre Foundation was established and the decision to build a theatre building was made.
The design competition for the building was won by the young architect Timo Penttilä who later became internationally acclaimed. The property developer was the City of Helsinki, and the Theatre Foundation was assigned the duty of managing the building in September 1967.
During the renovation of the theatre building between 2015–2017, its service technology system was upgraded and the premises for the staff and the public were restored while respecting the original spirit of this protected building.
Through new mergers in the 2000s, the theatre has expanded its activities to new stages: Studio Pasila (2001) and the Swedish-speaking Lilla Teatern (2005). Since 2010, Helsinki City Theatre has also used the Arena stage on Hämeentie as one if its venues.
Big stage (Suuri näyttämö) 923
Small stage (Pieni näyttämö) 274
Lilla Teatern 266
Arena stage 500
Studio Pasila 328
Going to the theatre is a magical experience. Spend a magnificent evening at the theatre with a Dinner & Show, organise a phenomenal workplace health event for your staff or celebrate in our a luxurious main foyer with a large group of guests. At the Helsinki City Theatre, you can organise a wide range of events, combining high-quality restaurant services, workshops and theatre performances.
Helsinki City Theatre offers a variety of ways to take a peek deeper into the world of theatre. We organise workshops, theatre visits, tours of sets and all kinds of events that anyone is welcome to attend. Helsinki City Theatre engages in audience outreach in order to provide a variety of ways for day-care centres, schools and educational establishments to explore the theatre and try making theatre themselves.